July 21, 2006 | , | 3

The Autumn Offering, Embrace the Gutter

And the award for “Surprise Release for the First Half of the Year” goes to The Autumn Offering. It’s taken me a while to get around to picking this one up and I’m damn glad I did. In all honesty part of my hesitation was that I wasn’t really expecting anything great from them. Thankfully they had a bit more to offer than I originally suspected.

Musically the band incorporates metalcore, thrash and elements of both hardcore and death metal. You’ll definitely hear influences from Darkest Hour as the vocal cadence and musical style are somewhat similar. But overall, The Autumn Offering‘s brand of music is much less frantic sounding — the guitars have a bit more crunch to them and the drums are more deliberate in their pounding.

Even with the comparisons to the likes of Himsa and Darkest Hour, this band is able to create their own unique sound. Intense drumming, excellent soloing and deeper, gruff vocals help seperate them from their influences.

34 seconds of noise, static and muted riffing. Skip it.

The first real song on the album starts off strong with a quick, pounding beat and a soaring solo. Right away you hear vocalist Dennis Miller’s similarity to Darket Hour‘s John Henry. It’s a good comparison to have, but also one that can be overlooked when heard in context with the overall sound of the band. More soaring solos and death metal fills accompany the vocal track.

The Yearning
A pretty beefy riff and driving beats from drummer Nick Gelyon get this one going in nice head banging fashion. The one complaint I have to voice about this release is the vocal levels on a few of the tracks. There are times when they seem a bit overwelmed by the crushing riffs. The band slows it down briefly around the 2:50 mark in the album before picking up the pace when the vocals kick back in.

Embrace The Gutter
The title track is probably the catchiest song on the album. The gruffly sung chorus is a great touch. So far we’ve been subjected to Miller’s screams and shouts, so the chorus is a nice change up — helping to seperate them from the above named influences. Backing vocals and a guitar solo are compliments of producer Jason Seucof.

It’ll be hard to follow up such a strong track as “Embrace the Gutter,” but the band makes a valiant effort with the fourth song on the album. The beat is much quicker and the vocal delivery is a little darker. There’s a slight distortion added to some spoken lyrics, adding a new dynamic to the band’s sound. Prepare yourself for the 3:14 mark on the track. The band brings in their first huge breakdown. It’s not your typical hardcore infused breakdown as they layer it with some sweet melodic riffs and soloing as well.

I swear to all things unholy that I’ve heard that opening riff somewhere before. I can’t put my finger on it, and it’s been driving me crazy. At any rate, this is a pretty decent track overall. Miller’s delivery is much deeper and guttural in places on this one. I would have loved to hear him bust out some deep death growls to accompany the primary delivery.

This Future Disease
A big blast from the drums starts this next song off. It’ll get your attention after fading out on the end of “Misery.” There are plenty of double bass blast fills to keep you happy. We definitely hear a few Darkest Hour melodic riffs toward the end of the song.

One Last Thrill
The solo about 20 seconds in gets the blood pumping hard before Miller’s vocals kick in. This is one of the quicker paced tracks and has the gruffly sung chorus that we heard in “Embrace the Gutter.” The last minute is, for lack of a better word, brutal.

No End In Sight
Melodic riffing keeps the momentum flowing from the previous track. There’s an interesting jazz-like solo later in the song that I’m not sure entirely fits. It’s an interesting touch though, that showcases more of the band’s abilities.

Walk The Line
The last real song on the album is a pretty damned good one as well. There are plenty of big riffs and power behind this song. The piano ending to this one fades into the final track on the disc.

The Final Cut
There are a few decent riffs and the piano from “Walk the Line” throughout this one, but for the most part it’s not much to listen to after the previous 9 songs. I’ve found my self skipping it and going straight to track two, or simply taking the disc out.

~ ~ ~

For an album that I wasn’t expecting much from, I can’t seem to get it out of my rotation. It’s got plenty of crunch, scorching solos, crushing yet melodic breakdowns and a good pace to it. If you dig Darkest Hour, but want something a bit darker, this one’s for you.

Favorite Tracks:
The Yearning
Embrace the Gutter
This Future Disease
One Last Thrill

Additional Notes: